Friday, 13 July 2012

Techniques for Top Teaching by Mark Cowen

If ever there was a reason for browsing the TES forums it's finding gems like this...

A couple of weeks ago I was browsing through the forums I have saved on my TES account (NQT, GTP, Mathematics and Student Teachers) and found a post about 'free teaching techniques book to download'. Naturally i clicked on this post and read about a new ebook that Mark Cowen, author of said book, had made freely available on Kindle for a limited period before being made available at a small fee.

I immediately thought that this was something that sounded like an absolute steal and so (as I don't own a Kindle) downloaded the FREE Kindle App for my iPhone and then proceeded to my Amazon account and 'bought' the free book, which then downloaded straight to the app on my iPhone. This took be a matter of minutes to complete and there it was - a 2864 page (based on the setting I have the text size etc on) FREE book.

I have recently been reading through the techniques that Mark suggests in the book and there are SO many fantastic ideas for lesson starters, plenaries, whole lesson ideas, mini-activities, warm-up activities etc etc. The way this book differs in that not only are the ideas presented but Mark also gives the reader an idea of: how long the activity will take in a lesson, the different ways each technique could be used and extensions to each, the time it would take to create the resources and reasons for why the activity should be done in the first place. This is brilliant because it gives the reader an idea of whether or not the technique is one in which you could read the night before planning a lesson and then do the following day or one in which you'd have to do some prior planning and resource creating before using in class.

The book can very much be delved in and out of at the readers need as there are so many ideas it would probably work best to take perhaps 5-10 of these ideas from an initial point, create these resources and then as and when you need a fresh idea, drop back into the book and using the really helpful hyperlinks in the ebook to move quickly between techniques rediscover a technique you had almost forgotten about.

I'm currently about 85% through the book and can honestly say that the ideas in the book will form a strong part of my Summer preparation for my NQT to compliment my existing lesson ideas and resources from this year. I intend to experiment with a few of the techniques mentioned and the only difficulty I am now faced with is shortlisting the techniques I will focus on and making sure I remember to delve back into the book at regular intervals throughout the year to remind myself of all the other techniques I will still want to use in class.

The book is available now on Kindle at ONLY £1.97 and I would highly recommend to any teacher whether they be an NQT, GTP, PGCE or experienced that they get this book. Even if you just read a couple of techniques a day I'm certain that there will be at least 20 odd ideas/variations you would want to use come September!

Click here to go to the amazon page and read more about Mark's book...

And for the original TES forum post on the book click here...

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